For all that has gone right for the Miami Heat during their current run of 12 victories in 17 games, the discussion after Saturday’s 111-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Miami-Dade Arena centered on equipment malfunctions.
Namely, centers who either trashed or tossed equipment, in this case Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon.
Before the Heat turned their attention to Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day game against the Atlanta Hawks at the start of a three-game trip, Adebayo and Dedmon both found themselves with a little explaining to do.
For Dedmon, it was his response to tossing a training device and being ejected from Tuesday night’s victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, subsequently suspended for the following game.
For Adebayo, it was about acquiescing to wear a microphone during Saturday’s victory over the Bucks and then a manic metrics-based moment at halftime when his statistics weren’t up to standard, ripping off the mic.
With Dedmon, it was the first time he commented on his ejection and subsequent Heat one-game suspension over Tuesday’s incident.
“Just frustration,” Dedmon said of his visible ire Tuesday, first with a heated discussion with coach Erik Spoelstra by the bench and then flinging a massage gun to the court as he stormed to the locker room. “Sometimes it gets the best of you. But, you know, it’s basketball. We’re all competitors in this locker room. We all want to play. We all want to win. So that’s all that is.”
Dedmon’s anger had been over a lack of playing time at the start of that victory over the Thunder.
What followed, he said, was unintentional, as the Theragun device landed on the court as play continued.
“That was all accidental. I have no idea. You ask Theragun how they did that,” he tried to quip of the aerodynamics of the device. “That was unintentional.”
Dedmon’s ire was such that he did not realize that referee Kevin Scott had assessed him a technical foul at that moment or that referee Brent Barnaky had ejected him.
“I didn’t know I got a technical, ejection until later that night,” he said, with each carrying a $2,000 final, in addition to his missed Heat game check, a penalty of about $32,000 that can be appealed. “I was already leaving when they did that.”
Following the announcement of the suspension, Dedmon said he met with Spoelstra and Heat President Pat Riley.
“I talked with Spo, talked with Pat, talked to my team, made sure we’re all on the same page,” he said, “and we’re ready to move on from it.”
Dedmon sat out Thursday night’s victory over the visiting Bucks and then did not play Saturday, with undrafted rookie Orlando Robinson, who is on a two-way contract, playing 17:02 as the backup to Adebayo. Dedmon and 42-year-old team captain Udonis Haslem were the lone available Heat players not to see action Saturday.
It was the second time this season Dedmon, 33, was held out due to coach’s decision, the other time last Sunday at the start of the Heat’s four-game homestand, in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
“I’m good,” Dedmon said. “I understand the clarity of the situation, so I’m ready to move past it.”
As for Adebayo’s equipment malfunction, there also was a degree of ire.
After being limited to four points and four rebounds in Saturday’s first half, Adebayo bought into the belief among players that wearing an in-game microphone was a jinx.
So in the second half, he went silent with his broadcasting and stepped up his play, finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds. That allowed Adebayo to tie his career longest streak with his 55th consecutive game scoring in double figures. He also did it at the end of the 2020-21 season.
“The damn mic. I’m blaming it on the mic,” Adebayo said of his anemic first half. “Somebody wanted me to get mic’d up before the game. And it’s that superstition, guys play bad when they’ve got the mic on.
“And it popped in my mind and I looked up at halftime, I was like, ‘Yeah,’ I snatched it out. I don’t know if anybody saw it.”
Then he got back to business, as did the Heat.
“I feel like in this stretch we’re really enjoying basketball,” Adebayo said. “And you’re seeing it on the court. We’re way more connected than we’ve been since the beginning of the season. And we’re executing, making plays, guys are making shots and getting a rhythm.”